Web application firewalls (WAF)

June 22, 2017

My latest blog piece, written for activereach, is all about new techniques in Web application firewalls:

https://activereach.net/newsroom/blog/defending-the-app-eco-system-developing-a-modern-waf-strategy/

DDoS attack simulation

May 19, 2017

My latest piece for cyber-security specialists, activereach, has been published:

https://activereach.net/newsroom/blog/ddos-attack-simulation-preparing-for-large-scale-ddos-attacks/

Ten years of techlun.ch

February 21, 2017

Astonishingly, today marks the tenth anniversary of this blog. I don’t post very often these days, partly as I only work part-time and also, perhaps, a sign of the times as so many of us are paying more attention to Facebook and Twitter. But, back in the day, there was a post a week, covering all sorts of technical stuff whipped in with some jokey items on the state of the ‘business lunch’ in modern times.

Looking back through the blog it is remarkable not only to see what sorts of technical debates were in the air, but also what a record there is of what I was up to in the years when I was running Intelligent Content Ltd and handling futurology for JISC. As I read through the old posts, events I had all but forgotten came back to me: Leeds University’s computer jubilee event (with free, hexadecimal beer), interviewing Richard Stallman, Oxford’s Open Source and XML workshops, Nottingham’s Festival of Words, and the EU’s ICT event in Lyon (there’ll be no more of that I guess for us Brits).

On the technical front, ten years ago it was Second Life (Reuters were advertising for a journalist to report from inside the virtual world that everyone was talking about), the sustainability of open source software, Microsoft launching a coffee table with a screen, XML, and 3-D web searching.

And of course Web 2.0. This is was being discussed everywhere in early 2007. Time magazine had just put a mirror on its front page and announced that their Person of the Year was ‘You’, the reader, acting together through the new forms of social media.

One of the first posts concerned the formal launch of a report I wrote for JISC on the subject. This proved to be a spectacular success, and to date has had over 100,000 downloads and 1,900 citations. It also led on to me being commissioned to write a book, “Web 2.0 and Beyond” – still available from all good bookshops as they say.

What will be the big techie story in ten years’ time? The increasing impact of AI and robotics on work I suspect, but who can say, ten years is a very, very long time in technology.

Denial of Service attack predictions

February 6, 2017

Recently I’ve been working with activereach to help them with their blogging activities. Here’s the latest piece I’ve written for them, summarising industry predictions for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in 2017.

DDoS attacks involve flooding a victim’s network with data requests in order to knock it out of action. This is done either to stop the organization operating for a period of time or to divert IT staff attention whilst a data theft takes place. Last year there was a significant rise in the number and scale of attacks and it seems likely this trend will continue in 2017 with many in the industry talking about “terabit attacks”.

Marc Andreessen on future tech

November 28, 2016

This Verge interview on the future of technology is a treat:

http://www.theverge.com/a/verge-2021/marc-andreessen-horowitz-verge-interview

Stuff on flying cars, robots, new computer companies, auto-driving cars, health care apps and more. Plus this joke:

The joke in the valley is, “Help wanted. Programmer / designer wanted for state-of-the-art Silicon Valley telepresence software company making collaborative work easy across geography and time zone. Must be willing to relocate to San Francisco.” It’s just nuts.

 

The Big Hex Machine

November 14, 2016

This is great. A giant computer that fills an entire wall, used to help explain how a modern computer works in detail.

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2016/november/big-hex.html

 

Looking back to IWMW 2003

May 9, 2016

I was recently approached by Brian Kelly, who runs UK Web Focus, about writing a blog item about a workshop I ran at the Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) in 2003. This would form part of a series of blog posts on the conference, which has been running for almost twenty years.

After a few days of dredging memories from deep within my brain, the blog post is written and is now published on the IWMW website.

The 2003 workshop was about Web-based research expertise systems and, in particular, work I had been leading at the University of Nottingham on the East Midlands Research Expertise Database (EMRED).

It was a long time ago, and a lot has changed, both in terms of technology and in the way universities now handle their engagements with business. So it’s been a fascinating exercise to pause for a moment and look back.

Progressive web apps

April 21, 2016

Interesting article in Wired on how the open Web is responding to the rise of closed, proprietary apps.

https://www.wired.com/2016/04/wait-web-isnt-really-dead-google-made-sure/?mbid=social_twitter

Detecting indoor location using WiFi signal

April 1, 2016

Just published, a devilishly clever algorithm from MIT for detecting the location of an individual using WiFi to within a few centimetres.

This has been a bit of a holy grail in computer science for years and the best solutions still require multiple WiFi nodes effectively comparing notes.

The details are complex, but basically the new approach involves frequency hopping the WiFi signal to obtain multiple measurements of the time a signal takes to travel to another node. These measurements are then combined and multiplied by the speed of light to get a highly accurate result.

Decimeter-Level Localization with a Single WiFi … – Usenix

Social Media for authors

March 9, 2016

I spent the afternoon at the University of Nottingham’s Horizon centre helping a researcher on the CREATe project explore how authors use social media.

This was a fascinating workshop with lots of discussion of the pitfalls and problems of using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest when you are writer trying to reach an audience. Issues up for debate included privacy, keeping work and social stuff separated, dealing with unwanted comments and postings, how to stream different types of updates and coping with the perpetual beta.

Oh, and how to get any writing done when there is social media available.

And, fans of this blog will be pleased to know, there was a decent lunch. It’s been a long time since I had a free lunch.

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